Going Out of Our Gourd for Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sure signs of fall: Changing leaves, dropping temperatures and the arrival of all things pumpkin!

In 2003, Starbucks tested the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 100 stores; it was rolled out nationwide the following year. Starbucks has served 200 million PSLs since then, giving rise to a fall flavor sensation.

It’s been two years since New York Magazine declared Pumpkin is the New Bacon. They were so right; Bloomberg reports U.S. pumpkin-flavored sales jumped 14 percent to about $308 million last year, and the craze shows no signs of abating. Along with the more established pumpkin bagels and pumpkin beers, we now have pumpkin spice pudding, pumpkin spice Greek yogurt and — heaven help us — Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

Still can’t get enough of this fall phenomenon? You’re in luck; Oct. 21 is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Celebrate with this baked version:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust: Combine in medium bowl, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press down flat into bottom and half way up sides of 9” spring-form pan. Set aside.

Filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth, add pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until well blended. Pour into crust.

Bake 55-60 minutes. Remove and let cool at room temperate. Refrigerate for 4 hours before removing the outer edge of spring-form pan.

Top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon (or nutmeg) and slivered almonds.

Serve with a pumpkin spice latte (or just a regular coffee) in your favorite Tervis mug.

— Judi Bauer